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ABP Network to hike ad rates, put spotlight on regional channels

In an interaction with, Mona Jain, Chief Revenue Officer, ABP Network discusses the network’s plan for the festive season and talks about the growth of their regional channels

The lockdown led to an unprecedented growth in viewership for news channels. But despite the growth, the news genre had to face grey clouds due to decreased ad spends during the initial months of the lockdown. With the economy now slowly opening up and advertisers finally looking for visibility, the news category is also reviving. The festive season has also given the advertisers a chance to reconnect with the consumers after months of cutting back on communication. 

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Mona Jain

With viewership for news channels staying at an all-time high and the festive season also coming up, the ad rates are bound to go up, says Mona Jain, Chief Revenue Officer, ABP Network. “The market demand on inventory has gone up substantially with various categories actively planning campaigns. As festivities gain momentum, ad rates are only bound to rise. Currently, all markets are responding equally with marginally more demand from North and West,” she said.

She said with newsworthy events like the Bihar elections taking place along with the festive season, the increase in viewership is guaranteed. “Revenue generation is looking optimistic this quarter as some semblance of normalcy returns,” Jain said. 

However, advertisers are still cautious about their spends due to various economic reasons. Asked if increasing ad rates would further affect the revenues, she said the inventory is limited and the demand is high, which makes the hike inevitable. 

“Contrary to belief, green shoots of economic revival are already visible. With an upturn in business as well as consumer sentiments post-unlock, marketers have higher ad expenditure. In fact, various brands are planning major activation in the coming months, with relatively longer festive season campaigns (7-8 weeks). Categories that were silent earlier are also getting active; these include mobile handsets, e-commerce, retail, durables, automobiles, etc. These sectors had been on a hiatus for a long time during the lockdown. Furthermore, since there is a substantial increment in demand, we foresee a greater pull this season as compared to last year, as the festive season appears to be beginning early. Having said that, the inventory is finite and limited, which makes ad rate hike almost inevitable during these times,” she added. 

This is also the first time IPL will collide with the festive season. With the absence of any sporting event in the past few months, experts suggest brands are eager to associate with the tournament. But would this affect the spends on other genres? According to Jain, the news genre further provides a surround platform for brands, including the ones that connect with the IPL. She said the news genre is not impacted by IPL in terms of viewership. 

“What’s more is that we have IPL-specific content. This poses a tremendous opportunity for brands sponsoring IPL to reinforce their presence on the game through these associations and brands not sponsoring with IPL to indirectly associate themselves with IPL-specific activities,” she added. 

When asked how would you justify the rate hike if the national news channel from the network ABP News is out from the top-five club for a long time now, Jain said ABP News saw a whopping 36 crore viewers in the first quarter of FY 20-21, surpassing all popular GEC, sports, music, kids, English movies and infotainment channels of India. Therefore, the faith our audiences have in us is fairly noticeable.

Moreover, the network's regional channels have a tremendous reach that will pull advertisers to connect with a wider audience.

“With the combined reach of ABP News and other regional channels like ABP Ananda, ABP Majha and ABP Asmita, the channel is invincible at the regional level. ABP News and ABP Majha together provide the best deliveries in Maharashtra, reaching 49 million people, standing at a top position. (Source: BARC, ABC 15+ individuals, Maharashtra/Goa, 01 January 19 - 31 December 19). Similarly, ABP News and ABP Ananda together are the leaders of the West Bengal market with a reach of 27 million. (Source: BARC, ABC 15+ individuals, West Bengal, 01 January 19 - 31 December 19), whereas ABP News and ABP Asmita are number one in the Gujarati news genre with a total reach of 21 million (Source : BARC, ABC 15+ individuals, Gujarat/D&D/DNH, 01 Jan 19 - 31 Dec 19). With this gigantic reach, ABP network is a must-buy for any media planner.” 


Jain said they focused on ABP Majha and ABP Ananda as they have performed well in terms of viewership as well as ad revenues. “We have just culminated an extensive content play around our flagship property BappaMajha — wherein UNICEF had come on board as a partner. The event was a massive hit with 10 sponsors on the board, (which, as we speak, is still selling).” 

“On ABP Ananda, we have an extensive six-week of content specifically designed around Pujo, providing advertisers with a huge opportunity to reach out to their consumers in an engaging way — this has been juxtaposed with on-ground activities. The combination of the two elements will allow advertisers to deliver omnipresence and huge saliency during the most significant event in West Bengal,” she added. 

Asked about how ABP Ganga would attract advertisers as it has a lot of competition in the market, Jain said the next quarter will be crucial for ABP Ganga. “With the festive season just around the corner, we are sure advertisers will increase their ad moolah and diversify investments. The next quarter will play a crucial role in ABP Ganga’s growth as North India is a key market for festivals. In fact, ABP News and ABP Ganga combined, provide the best deliveries in UP/UK. (Source: BARC, ABC 15+ individuals, UP/UK, 01 January 19 - 31 December 19),” she added.

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